Jozef Branovic, born on Aug. 20th 1992, in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia to Nicolai Branovic, a Pediatrician, and Ana Branovic, a homemaker, is ten years old as of 01/01/03. He is a level 4 ESOL and is currently in 5th grade. Jozef’s 12-year-old sister, Maria, is in 7th grade.
From an early age, Jozef was home-schooled in English by his mother in the hopes that they would eventually emigrate to the United States. The parents had applied for an American green card through the lottery and obtained it three years ago. They were able to have both children obtain the card as well.
The family had already been to the United States on a few trips to visit some distant cousins in Buffalo, NY. They typically spent about 3 weeks with them, living at their cousins’ home. Both the children and their parents had been born in the United States, and they all spoke English fluently. The American cousins spoke very little Bosnian because of the fact that only their father's parents had been born there and they had wanted their son to speak only English. All four children got along very well, and the conversations built up naturally during their many games. When Jozef and his family arrived in the United States they first lived with their cousins. Jozef did not attend Kindergarten because his father was looking for employment and did not plan to stay in Buffalo. A few months later, in November 1998 Nicolai accepted a position at the University of South Florida as a research assistant and the family moved to Tampa. Jozef enrolled in the first grade 12-6-1998 in the public school system in Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida.
Jozef’s parents are well educated and speak a
few foreign languages: his father speaks German, English,
French, Latin and Bosnian, and his mother speaks German,
English and Bosnian.
This move to the United States is considered to be an excellent opportunity for the children to obtain a good education. Good grades are important for both children are expected to do higher-level studies and hopefully follow in their father's footsteps. Even though they currently live in an apartment, they are confident that they will be able to buy a house in the next few years, as soon as Nicolai obtains his American degree. The family is Catholic, and they go to church regularly. The mother still tries to cook traditional food, but many ingredients are missing, so she is starting to make American dishes that she has learned from her distant family (in law), and other parents that she met through the PTA. She is very involved in her children's school, and can easily be understood despite her accent. Both she and her husband have a very good command of the language with very good grammar and extensive vocabulary, if not somewhat British at times. Their neighborhood has a few Slavic families, but they choose to interact with people as they meet them and not seek people who are necessary from their own culture. They would rather meet Americans and learn from them about this new culture, even though they don't want to forget about their own. Their motto is “when in Rome, do as the Romans”. Given the fact that many of their father’s coworkers were not born in the United States, the family is exposed to international neighbors.
Jozef is a studious boy who respects the teacher. He can be mischievous at times, but only outside of class. He tries hard, and certainly works hard at the homework, always has. He helps his parents at home, with the dishes, the trash and such... Jozef misses Bosnia but doesn't like anyone to know about it, he simply gets quiet every once in a while – in class or at home. He was always considered a good student, because of his hard work. At first, his spelling and reading problems were believed to because of the fact that he was still processing a new language and adjusting to being in a class in which he was speaking, reading, listening and writing in a foreign language. Jozef has an excellent vocabulary, but he has bad spelling and has difficulty working answering written questions that require too much reading – even in Mathematics. By the end of his third grade, he still has difficulty writing, and his teacher, Mrs. Johnson, discussed this with Nicolai and Ana. During the conversation, Ana remembered that her uncle had always avoided reading or writing, so when Mrs. Johnson suggested that he be evaluated, both parents consented to the test. As expect, Jozef was diagnosed with dyslexia and an IEP (see below) was developed to help him with his reading, writing, spelling, as well as math word problem solving.
Jozef would be described as a happy child, respectful of his family, traditions, and teachers. He only allows himself to be "silly" when his work is done. He loves to play soccer and is fairly good at it. This has helped him to strike quite a few friendships. His hair is strawberry blond and he has blue eyes. His is of average height, fairly lean. Most of his friends are from school, and he has become rather popular, and he has come to get used to being called "Jo" instead of Jozef, which the other children can't pronounce properly. Every once in a while, another kid will try to imitate his accent and poke some fun, but Jozef has always been self-confident, and doesn't really answer to that. His current teacher Mrs. Roberts has taken him under her wing and tries to help him catch up during his time outside of the main classroom. She is always ready to answer his questions, but sometimes has to ask him directly whether or not he understands, since he feels embarrassed to ask questions – so she waits until class is over.